Gentle and tolerant, or tough and strong, elephants have character traits too…

This is that time of the year when elephants are in the limelight in Mysore. Elephants have been brought from the jungle camps to Mysore, to participate in the Dasara festivities to be held from October 8 to 17.

Leading them is the elephant Balarama who will carry the 750 kg golden howdah on the day of the Vijayadashmi procession which is also called Jamboo Savari.

Getting to know them

Balarama is 52 years old and his height is 2.70 metres. He was caught at the Kattepura forest in Kodagu district in 1987 and has participated in the Mysore Dassera 16 times. A gentle giant with a mild temperament, Balarama is an affable elephant, according to his mahout. Keeping him company is Arjuna – 49 years old and 2.65 metres tall. He was brought to Mysore as long ago as 1969 from the Hebbala forests. But this tusker is aggressive when he gets annoyed.

Gajendra is another giant of 2.8 metres. Trapped in 1987 from Kattepura in Kodagu, he is affable and participates in the various religious ceremonies associated with Dassera.

Abhimanyu, at 44, is a “toughie” and a “hard task master”. He is used by the forest department to tame wild elephants on the rampage. Sarala and Varalakshmi also feature regularly in the Dasara celebrations.

The second batch of six elephants comprise the mighty Srirama, Mary, Vikrama, Harsha, Kavitha and Kanti who will join Balarama and company next week to prepare for the annual event .